The Casual Formula

Dressing for very casual outings without losing my personality has always been challenging. Accessories are my favorite part of every look, which may explain why I am more comfortable wearing a blazer and short boots with jeans rather than a tee and sneakers.

Mr. Mickey and I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon checking on my parents (they are much better now!), enjoying a light lunch, and visiting friends. The temperatures were in the mid-fifties, so layers are necessary now.

Nothing we wore is new, but perhaps seeing how we put together old favorites will help you use what you already have differently. Most of his attire is from Polo Ralph Lauren.

My denim jacket and slightly flare-leg black jeans are from Talbots. The long sleeve v-neck black tee is from Banana Republic. This classic basics combination includes a small silk scarf, loafers, a pewter-colored bag, and tiny pearl earrings, all from Nordstrom but purchased more than a year ago. Several different styles of the best no-show socks are here. Finally, a few polished accessories can elevate even the most casual looks.

Now that I am mostly retired, my randomly published posts will share ideas for fun day trips, outfit combos, and other tidbits but not many product links since I rarely shop for new items. However, any shopping links may allow me to earn a small commission at no cost to you.

  1. I have learned so much with your information and advice. Recently I was in a nice dress shop and did a double take to see if it was vintage items. The flowered large prints were so much like what hung in my closet in the 80’s. The “beads” jewelry was totally vintage in appearance, looked identical to pieces that my mom and I wore long ago. The clerk assured me it was the latest trends. They had mixed large bead necklaces with small chain necklaces!! Lots of chains, large bangles and layers of necklaces. I do not “trend” but did wonder about trying to wear a few of my old pieces that are now new again!!!
    I have done a search on your information for jewelry and a lot pops up. You usually explain in each post. I have grown used to less is better and showing skin instead of layering jewelry. Wondering how you decide whether to add a necklace or not? I always thought we needed to add a necklace in the “V” of a neckline but now totally avoid it because of how good you always look.
    I would describe Mr Mickey as “casual hot”!!!
    Thanks so much for your time for us.

  2. I love your phrase “Dressing for very casual outings without losing my personality “
    It has been my dilemma but I’ve never articulated it that well. I find it easy to dress up and I have the wardrobe for it, but my lifestyle is increasingly casual. When I go casual, it is easy to fall completely apart and lazily not bother. Great but simple post.

  3. I admire the fact you teach people to wear what they have in different combinations. Style does not go out of style. I keep clothes for my daughters because I know looks come back and that my flannel shirts will always be needed on frigid days. I only wish my daughters would learn how to hang of fold clothes. Hey Mick, did you ever sell your Mickey collection? Brad

  4. I am intrigued by your scarves. They really do add a pop of color and serve to lengthen the torso, which is what I am looking for. What are the dimensions of your silk scarves?

  5. Especially love your Casual Formula when I have it all hanging in my closet! Appreciate everything you have taught me! You are stunning as always & your hair looks so beautiful!

  6. Your posts are always interesting and informative, and the comments from your readers likewise. At my age and lifestyle, I strive for casual chic. I agree with Miss Cheryl S. about your comment “Dressing for very casual outings without losing my personality” as being key to getting dressed. It is interesting to observe ladies and how they dress. Occasionally I spot someone who has just that “something” that makes her stand out from the crowd (in a good way). I got a chuckle from Miss Kathy’s comment describing Mr. Mickey as “casual hot”! Never too old to look sharp! My handsome husband wears real hats (not ball caps) and always gets compliments and admiring glances.

  7. Love this look very much.
    The blue jean color jacket I think makes you look softer with that elegant touch with all the black. Now this apparel would make me look twice at you if we were passing one another some place…Casual chick.
    I think I prefer your hair a little shorter but you look great no matter how you style it. And Mr. Mickey, well now he is quite a compliment with you as you both look “hot” in a good way!
    Clara from Iowa

  8. Susan, I’m so glad to hear about your parents. You both look polished and comfortable at the sate time.

  9. Great post as it helps me to figure out that casual chic quandary. I do not dress down well and it’s always a challenge for me to figure out what to put together for my now casual retired lifestyle. I end up looking plain so as not to make a mistake! PS: Mr Mickey looks more healthy now than in years past. So do you, of course.

  10. Your posts just get better and better….thank you for continuing this venture. It is greatly appreciated!!!♥️

  11. I always enjoy your posts! I’m facing a fashion challenge that I thought you could help with. I’m going to Cape Cod next week. I’m having issues with my feet. I had several cute outfits planned that I would wear with my ankle boots. I can’t wear any of those right now. I am only able to wear sneakers ( not leather ones). What can I wear with sneakers that will look pulled together?? Could you show some examples?
    Thank you, Elaine

    1. These days people are wearing sneakers with any and everything. So pair your sneakers with socks the same color as your pants, and drape a light-colored sweater over your shoulders in the same tone as your sneakers (white, tan, or gray, for example). Keep all the other parts of your outfit solid and classic.

  12. Hi Susan! It’s good to know that your parents are doing well! Both you & Mr. Mickey looking good and are dressed for fall. Thank you for this post as I have quite a few scarves and don’t usually wear them often enough. This will remind me to “up” my casual look when venturing out. Always love seeing your posts and enjoy the pictures!

  13. I have followed you for years!!! I love how your posts as they include the adventures along with your sense of style. Grace is in your DNA. – thank you for sharing!

  14. Susan you and Mr Mickey are both looking great! Love your casual look here. My current issue is that I have had two lifestyle changes within 5 years and now have too many of all kinds of clothes. And I love them all at this point so although I know I need to get on with downsizing, it’s really hard. (have already downsized from a huge collection of clothes and shoes to a less huge collection but still huge. Lol. Thanks as always for your post. It is super helpful.

  15. Susan, so happy that you, Mr. Mickey & your parents are doing well & healthy. It’s a blessing that you can visit them regularly. Enjoy a relaxing & stylish fall.

  16. Love this. Do you think it is acceptable to wear a blue denim jacket with black jeans? I have worn a denim jacket with black pants or white pants/jeans. It seems you have done that here and I like the look. Just curious.

    1. My apologies for misreading your comment, Gail. His shoes are by Clarks. However, they were a gift from his daughter, so I don’t know where they were purchased.

  17. Always love your posts. Finally decided to try your favorite no-show socks. Looking forward to their arrival so I can check them out for myself.

  18. Another informative post.
    Do you wear khaki colored or camel colored pants?
    What are your base colors?
    Thank you

    1. Khaki and camel are dreadful colors for me, so I stopped buying them, even in pants. Instead, my base colors are navy, white, gray, and black, with accent shades of blue, plum, or red.

  19. I agree about a standard for casual dressing. My husband of 54yrs marriage siad that he could never remember a time where I wasn’t wearing simple classic earings and a chain pendant.

  20. As always, another terrific read. I save most of your posts in an e-folder and refer to them frequently. I’m looking for a post that will give me some choices on what shoes to wear for a casually elegant dinner party in November in Phoenix. We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary. Boy, have those years flown! I’m wearing slim cut black pants and black silky tank. My topped is a burned out velvet duster in my favorite jewel tones of purple, navy, wine and black. I want to wear burnished silver station necklace and either small diamond studs, or pearls. I have no dressy shoes except a pair of black and burnished silver wedge heel strappy sandals. What are my other choices? The pants are full length, not ankle. Thanks so much, and I’d not be nearly as well put together without you!

    1. Your choices sound lovely, and the dressy shoes will be a perfect choice. Black satin or velvet shoes that do not compete with your duster would also be excellent choices. Congratulations!

  21. Thanks for sharing Susan. I also like wearing casual clothing, but I feel good with a jacket, pants, and flats. I like your style.

  22. Thanks for sharing. You always look so polished and beautiful. I bought sheec socks but they tend to slip off my heel when in my shoe. Do you have that problem? Any suggestion?

  23. Thank God your parents are better. Please make sure they avoid others. It is going to be a terrible flu and Covid(maybe Covid?) season. Also, my friend take good care of YOU and Mr. Mickey!!!!! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!!! Beautiful lady!!! Handsome man!!!!! Always check your tips. Please keep sharing.

  24. Hi Susan!
    I Love your style and advice. We have a history with your jewelry supply business. Do you ever wear skirts or dresses? I find I never do because panty hose are no longer popular and at my age bare legs with a dress just doesn’t make it. What options do we have?

    1. Hi Mary! It’s nice to hear from you. I hope all is well.

      I rarely wear dresses other than midi-length floaty summer dresses with sandals. Instead of dresses, in colder months, I wear trousers with sheer black hose and black pumps for dressy occasions and white jeans with nude sandals during the warmer months.

  25. Keep the posts coming. I really enjoy your style and tips; they have been very helpful. However here is Dallas, the weather doesn’t always allow jeans and jackets until mid-late Oct, so our cooler/cold season (my favorite time) goes by quickly. I’d love to know how tall you are. You always look amazing (and Mr. Mickey too!). Enjoy retirement – it’s awesome! Thanks. Paula

  26. I look forward to waking up, doing Wordle and checking to see if you posted a column overnight. Your attire would fit in to the workplace. I went to a Friday continuing ed seminar a while ago and saw several women wearing black pants and jean jackets with white Ts and a necklace or scarf just like you are wearing. Now this is a profession that typically dresses in suits, so this is their business casual. I have never quite been able to figure out how to wear jean jackets and seeing these outfits made me start to copy the combination. You take it to another level!

  27. Hi, Susan!
    I started following you earlier this year and it is getting so much easier to shop for clothes and to know how to dress! I’m wondering if you can recommend a blog or something similar for men? We have been married 46 years…he is 78 and I’m 69. I would love to start helping my husband shop for clothing but do not know where to start! Any suggestions?
    Thank you for any help you could offer.

  28. I really look forward to seeing your blogs and enjoy reading and applying your ideas …. thank you ! !

    Good to know your parents health is improving.

    Till next time, Heather

  29. You always look very put together! I worked for Talbots for 26 years and you represent the brand very well… and you always accessorize beautifully!

  30. You probably answered this question many times. Do you wear white jeans in the winter? O do wear ivory. But would like to wear white jeans. Too hot in Houston to layer .ost of the time.

  31. I am not getting notices that you have posted. I miss seeing your posting. I do look periodically to see if I have missed a new one. I am still on your emails?

  32. My husband and I retired at the end of last year. I’m excited to see Mr Micky’s and your retirement adventures. ❤

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.